Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prom Dress Mess and Recovery

Prom dress mistakes - yes, that's plural. It has been a roller coaster ride of a project, that's for sure!

I did what I thought was a smart thing and made not one, but two, practice bodices. The first was too big, the second was the correct size and included several steps that I didn't do on the first: boning, lining, and interlining. Well, I still think it was smart to do those mock-ups, but part of the purpose was to make the actual dress construction easier with fewer mistakes. Hmmph.

Problem number 1: The bodice front has two parts that are mirror images of one another. I made both the mock-ups correctly, but made the real thing incorrectly. Both parts were identical, not mirror image. This meant that we had 2 bodices for the right breast, and no bodice for the left. Yes, this is a problem.

Look at all the fraying. I know, I should have used pinking shears. You know what they say about hindsight, right? These are the parts that comprise one half of the bodice lining; the interlining is sewn to it.

Problem number 2: Attaching the midriff to the bodice was easy when I used cotton. But sewing this shantung and organza has proven quite a bit more challenging. The organza has tremendous amounts of gathering, both top and bottom, to provide a ruched effect. The seam which attaches the midriff and bodice had 7 layers of cloth: one midriff, one midriff lining, one midriff interlining, one bodice, one ruching, one bodice lining, and one bodice interlining. Where the left and right bodice pieces crossed in the center front, there were 11 layers of fabric. (Think of the thicknesses where seams met!)  It was this center front with all these layers to manage that I had my second problem. It required unsewing, not once, but twice! It was a bugger!

Here, Emma is holding the bodice and midriff around herself. This is straight off the sewing machine - it hasn't been pressed or even straightened out! Looks pretty rough, but she was happy with it, thankfully. Now to attach the skirt with its overskirt of organza. One of her girlfriends said it will look like a goddess' dress. I certainly hope so! My plan is to finish in time to take it to our local dry cleaners and have them give it a professional pressing. I'm absolutely scared to death to put my iron near this fabric!

Here are some interesting things that are happening out in our yard. Oh, glorious spring! I love these flowering times!

Our first magnolia. We've owned this place for over 18 years, and our previous place for 11 years, and we've never had a magnolia. I can't explain it.

Grape Hyacinth. I remember planting a patch of these as a child. I think my mother bought a bag of seeds/bulbs at the county fair. She prepared a spot near the kitchen window of our house. She made a big production of having us (my siblings and I) watch as she opened the bag and poured the seeds out. There were pennies in the seeds! It was so cool. We thought it was absolute magic.
Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. Slow but steady progress on that prom dress. I do NOT envy what you're going through, but it sounds like you have everything under control. I'm sure it will be a memorable dress and you'll be so happy that you made it.
    Such a sweet story about your mother planting the grape hyacinths. Any idea why the pennies were in there? She definitely created a memory for you.

  2. Spring is like magic isn't it?! So lovely to see spots of color.

    After all is said and done the dress witll be fantastic. It looks like hard material to work with.


Feedback on my posts is always welcome!